Daily Archives: 9 Dec 2013

Gosh, Funny Thing, Saying ‘I Thought the Gun Wasn’t Loaded’ Just Isn’t Very Comforting, Is It?

A man was charged with reckless homicide Monday following the fatal shooting of an Indiana teenager hailed as a hero in 2010 when she helped save two children who fell into an icy reservoir.  Aubrey Peters, 16, was pronounced dead at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis late Sunday, hours after she was shot in the chest inside a Noblesville home, police said.

Jacob Travis McDaniel, 20, of Noblesville was charged with reckless homicide and pointing a firearm. No attorney was listed in court records for McDaniel as of Monday evening and no one answered a call to McDaniel’s house, where the shooting occurred.  According to a probable cause affidavit, Peters was at the house with McDaniel and two others. One of the witnesses, Dajuan Williams, told police that McDaniel tried to get Peters to hold the gun, but she refused.

Williams said McDaniel dropped the magazine from the gun, took the safety off and pulled the trigger. A bullet struck Peters, who clutched her chest and said, “What just happened?” Williams said in the affidavit.  Williams told police McDaniel asked everyone to tell authorities the gun fell off the table and went off. The affidavit says McDaniel admitted pulling the trigger, thinking the gun was empty.  Peters was a seventh-grader when she saved two young girls who had fallen through the ice on Morse Reservoir in 2010.

Well, what to say?  Imbecile?  That’s not sufficient.  Idiot?  Too tame.  Vile?  That gets us closer.  What we can most certainly say is that America’s idiotic worship of guns by moronic people who don’t have the sense to make sure the guns they are waving around aren’t loaded is a plague that kills more people than anything else, isn’t it…  And saying ‘but I thought it wasn’t loaded’ is no comfort, and no excuse, at all.

And now, young Jacob gets to live with his stupidity for a very long time and young Aubrey’s family gets to bury her in the ice cold ground.  Yay guns…

New: The Book of Ben Sira

Via Jack Sasson- word of this new resource

Welcome to http://www.bensira.org, the website devoted to the ancient and medieval Hebrew manuscripts of the book of Ben Sira. These documents, which are housed in Cambridge, Oxford, London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, and Jerusalem, are here presented in a single platform, to allow the scholar and the interested layperson to view these precious texts. To learn more about the remarkable recovery of the once-lost Hebrew original of Ben Sira, and its presentation at our website, click on ‘Introduction‘. To proceed directly to the images of the disparate manuscripts, click on ‘View the Manuscripts‘. We invite you to explore, peruse the website, and learn more about the book of Ben Sira, its contents, and its textual history.

Brilliant!  Adding it to the ‘useful sites’ section of the nav panel.

An Unofficial Response from Tyndale, But It’s Not An Official One

In comments on Joel’s post.  Here’s the gist:

 I should probably make it clear that this is a personal response rather than an official response from Tyndale House Publishers. I am a senior editor for Bibles and Bible reference works, and have been working within the editorial department at Tyndale since 2005. Obviously, I have a bit of an insider’s perspective; but I am one person, and my comments haven’t been reviewed or approved as the response of Tyndale.

I have never worked with Mark Driscoll or any of his content. In fact, I’ve never read any of his books, and I don’t think I’ve every interacted with anything he has done on more than a cursory level. I’ve watched some of his videos (probably never more than 10 minutes) and read some of his blog posts. My overall evaluation has been that I don’t really like the style or substance of his message. I wasn’t excited when I heard that Tyndale had decided to publish him; but I wasn’t ready to quit either. I don’t think people deserve to be published only if I like or agree with their message.

And then further on

I also know people in Tyndale’s publishing groups and the publicity team, and I can say that I would be shocked to learn that any effort was made to silence Janet Mefford. I know Tyndale and Salem have a working relationship, much like Tyndale has with other Christian media channels. I am not involved in those relationships and deals directly, so I have no particular insight there; but again, I know the people at Tyndale and don’t believe they would engage in strong-arm tactics to bury the truth.

I understand the strong and vitriolic responses that Mark Driscoll elicits, but I really think Tyndale is getting dragged into the mud on this unfairly.

It’s a response that says ‘it wasn’t me’ and ‘Tyndale doesn’t really deserve to be dragged into this’.  But Tyndale published Driscoll’s books and though it may have known nothing of the plagiarisms (and they are plagiarisms) once they learned of them have a responsibility to do something about the books in which they appear.

Perhaps an official response from Tyndale will be forthcoming.  Anyway, until then, read the rest of the comment.

Truth and Consequences

From the twitter- no comment needed-


This is For You, Joel

In the wise words of Sirach-

ἕως θανάτου ἀγώνισαι περὶ τῆς ἀληθείας καὶ κύριος ὁ θεὸς πολεμήσει ὑπὲρ σοῦ (Sir 4:28)

I Bet Joel Is Getting Hate Mail Now Too

I knew it would happen so it isn’t surprising that partisans of Driscoll and Tyndale House Publishing are spending their day sending along comments aimed not at discussing the issue, but tangentials.  If people wish to comment on point, I’m happy to approve them.  Even if they defend Tyndale or Driscoll or both.  But believe me, if you can’t manage to stay focused and address the issue of Driscoll’s plagiarism, and Tyndale’s willingness to defend that plagiarism, your remarks will never see the light of day.

I am not obliged to provide you a platform for irrelevancies.  Good luck elsewhere.  What other sites do in terms of providing space to ignorance is of no concern to me.

That ‘Admission’ Just Doesn’t Cut the Mustard, Or Pass the Smell Test, Mars Hill: Mark Driscoll as the New Anthony Wiener

Jonathan Merritt is on top of the Mark Driscoll plagiarism story with something further today-

Mars Hill Church has released a statement regarding plagiarism allegations against pastor Mark Driscoll. “Religion News Service” reported on the initial charges of plagiarism brought to light by syndicated radio host Janet Mefferd. We also reported on additional allegationsMefferd’s apology, and the resignation of Mefferd’s assistant producer. The Driscoll PR team, led by Communications Manager Justin Dean, has stayed mum throughout the ordeal, failing to return emails, phone calls, and text messages from RNS.

The Mars Hill statement was first discovered by Warren Throckmorton at ”Patheos.” It is difficult to find, buried in the “Downloads” section of the “Trial” sermon series page. The statement only address charges that plagiarized material appeared in a booklet on I&II Peter published by Mars Hill Church. It admits “citation errors” but blames a research team for the errors, which are located in a chapter naming Driscoll as author…

Look, it’s time for some honesty from both Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll.  It’s time for them to stop evading and stop pretending that all is well and that precious Mark is just the victim of sloppy assistants.  He put HIS NAME on the book- it’s his baby.  He owns it, and he promotes it.

Those are his plagiarisms and the pretense of blaming others is really a remarkable bit of falsehood and a failure to take responsibility.  And for a guy who talks so much about people taking responsibility, it’s time he does.

Mark- just admit you were sloppy, or lazy, or just plain deceptive; admit that you read something and liked it and lifted it and didn’t attribute it.  At least then people might respect you for a lapse into momentary honesty.

You sound, Mark, more every day like Anthony Wiener.  ‘Oh that’s not mine’.  ‘Oh someone else pretending to me took it’.  ‘Oh, ok it’s mine and I admit it and I’ll never do it again…’  etc.

Confess, Mark.  It’s the only way out.

James Crossley’s Forthcoming Book

Harnessing Chaos (506): The Bible in English Political Discourse since 1968. It’s a fantastic read. Even for people outside the British Islands:

James Crossley and his Bags

James Crossley and his Bags

Harnessing Chaos is an explanation of changes in dominant politicalized assumptions about what the Bible ‘really means’ in English culture since the 1960s. This book will look at how the social upheavals of the 1960s and the economic shift from the post-war dominance of Keynesianism to the post-1970s dominance of neoliberalism brought about certain emphases and nuances in the ways in which the Bible is popularly understood, particularly in relation to dominant political ideas. This book examines at the decline of politically radical biblical interpretation in parliamentary politics and the victory of (a modified form of) Margaret Thatcher’s re-reading of the liberal Bible tradition, following the normalisation of (a modified form of) Thatcherism more generally.

Part I looks at the potential options for politicized readings of the Bible at the end of the the1960s, focussing on the examples of Christopher Hill and Enoch Powell. Part II analyses the role of Thatcher’s specific contribution to political interpretation of the Bible and assumptions about ‘religion’. Part III highlights the importance of (often unintended) ideological changes towards forms of Thatcherite interpretation in popular culture and with particular reference to Monty Python’s Life of Brian and the Manchester music scene between 1976 and 1994. Part IV concerns the modification of Thatcher’s Bible, particularly with reference to the embrace of socially liberal values, by looking at the electoral decline of the Conservative Party through the work of Jeffrey Archer on Judas and the final victory of Thatcherism through Tony Blair’s exegesis. Some consideration will then be given to the Bible in an Age of Coalition and how politically radical biblical interpretations retains a presence outside parliamentary politics. Harnessing Chaos will conclude with reflections on why politicians in English politics bother using the Bible at all.

Kloppenborg Reviews Destro/Pesce

Here–   John S. Kloppenborg’s review of A.Destro-M. Pesce, Encounters with Jesus, 2012 Fortress Press (published in the Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus).  My own 8 part review is here.

The Stupid, It Burns

Yet more evidence that schools go to extreme lengths to punish children for even thinking about weapons: A 10-year-old Georgia boy was suspended for a day after he pretended to shoot an entirely imaginary arrow at another student.  Administrators told the boy’s parents that he could even be expelled.  

Johnny Jones is a fifth grader at South Eastern Middle School. A few weeks ago, he was walking back to his desk when a friend aimed a folder at him and shot it like a gun. Jones retaliated by pulling back his arm as if releasing an arrow from an invisible bow. Whether either of the imaginary projectiles hit their target is unknown, since neither actually existed.

Oh. Come. On.  Such stupidity burns.  America… the place where two ten year olds can get in trouble for using pretend weapons but real guns in every hand are ok…   From American Culture, oh Lord, deliver us.

Joel Watts’ Forthright Letter to Tyndale House Publishers

Hear hear.  Joel remarks a bit along in his post-

 I sincerely appreciate Tyndale House for the quality materials presented to me throughout my life that have helped in no small way to me being the believer I am today. I believe the NLT is a fine translation and a trend-setter even if I do use it less these days. I appreciate Tyndale House and those people I know because of the New Living Translation.

But, don’t misunderstand this. Tyndale House, I am severely disappointed, no — dismayed and disgusted at your protection of Mark Driscoll. I will reserve condemnation of any silencing of Janet Mefferd and hope you are not part of the mafia machine behind Driscoll. There is nothing Christian about institutionalized power and such power used to silence the voice of truth.

I will make no threats. They are silly. I will only ask for your reconsideration of your denial of wrongdoing. I do not believe Tyndale would knowingly allow plagiarism; however, it is clear it did occur and has occurred in other publications. I will further ask that you make it clear you did not silence Janet Mefferd and would not attempt to use any influence in attempting to control negative publicity regarding Driscoll that was fairly leveled. I will ask that you, now, take care of all of your family, as Christians, else we consider you worse than the heathen. If there is no resolution, I will pull down every post praising Tyndale and the NLT and encourage fellow bloggers to refuse to review for them and to reconsider any past reviews.

Joel is a good Methodist: measured, restrained, unwilling to see the worst in people (and institutions and publishers) even if it’s plain as day that all that’s there is wickedness.  I am not burdened by such restraints.  I breath too freely the astringent air of Luther and Calvin and Zwingli and Oecolampadius and Bullinger to be allowed to sit silently whilst injustice reigns and is even perpetrated among those claiming the name of Christ.  Our forefathers, the first generation Reformers, couldn’t tolerate falsehood.  Why should we?

Moreover, God doesn’t tolerate deception.  Why ought we simply because the false person is ‘pastor’ of a large flock of sadly deceived souls and his publisher has, in the past, been respected?

Bibi is the World’s Worst Human Being

And he’s proven it again.

Israel’s prime minister proves he is not the smug, petty, vindictive, waffling, in-your-face insulting man he seems. He’s something worse.  The problem is not so much that the prime minister had first informed the South African government that he would, in fact, attend the ceremony, alongside Presidents Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, French President Francois Hollande, and scores of other world dignitaries, among them Iranian President Hassan Rohani, in what is expected to be a world gathering unprecedented in scope.

Nor is the basic problem the fact that the decision was made so abruptly and with such lack of consultation, that the office of President Shimon Peres was thrown for a loop, and it was unclear if arrangements could be made to have Peres represent Israel in Netanyahu’s stead.  The problem is the reason Netanyahu chose to give: Money. The trip would cost too much. The problem, then, is the message Netanyahu has chosen to send:  My Israel, which so craves and demands legitimacy and recognition as a full partner in the community of nations, does not consider a man like Nelson Mandela, or a nation like South Africa, or the sentiment of an entire world, worth the price of a plane flight.  In sending this message, Benjamin Netanyahu has treated the passing of Nelson Mandela as he does every challenge in statecraft: He has addressed one problem by creating another.  

That Israelis elected this buffoon of a caricature of a statesman is far more mystifying than the election of George Bush the second time he ran for office.  he is a dreadful little thing and his continued presence on the world stage is a disservice to the good people of Israel.

The toad will happily fly around the world to chat up Aipac and have American Christian Zionists wet themselves for a chance to have their photo taken with him, but he refuses to be dignified.  He’s disgusting.

Children React to Joel Watts’ Reading of ‘A Christmas Carol: The Version With Mimes from Mark’

Poor kids.


It’s Hard to Believe, But Tomorrow is the 45th Anniversary of Karl Barth’s Death

Reformierte Info commemorates the giant thusly- by quoting extensively from a Christmas essay:

barth“Man ist nicht damit ein Christ, dass man dies und das tut, denkt und glaubt, erlebt, sagt. (…) Also damit ist oder wird man in der Tat kein Christ, dass man das Bekenntnis nachsagt. Wohl aber damit, dass uns die Offenbarung angeht, dass man sich von ihr gesagt sein lässt, was sie sagt, und dass man dann, in welcher menschlichen Unvollkommenheit auch immer, nachsagt, was uns vorgesagt ist. Wir setzen nun voraus, dass Gottes Offenbarung den ‘modernen Menschen’ genau so angeht, wie sie den antiken und den mittelalterlichen Menschen anging und wie sie den Menschen des Jahres 3000 angehen wird. Was sollen wir denn zu Weihnacht Besseres tun, als eben mit dieser Voraussetzung an alles Volk herantreten? Der Engel in der Christnacht hat diese Voraussetzung offenbar auch gemacht. Wir setzen voraus, dass der ‘moderne Mensch’, der dies liest, es sich eben jetzt wieder einmal sagen lässt: Du liebst nicht nur mit jener Liebe, die aufhört, sondern du bist geliebt mit der Liebe, die nimmer aufhört, die du garnicht verdient hast und garnicht erwidern kannst.”*

*Karl Barth, Das Wunder der Weihnacht (1927), in: ders., Weihnacht, Christian Kaiser Verlag München 1934, 21f.

Heinrich Bullinger’s First Publication (of Many) In Zurich

Von dem unverschampten Fräfel, ergerlichem verwyrren und unwarhafftem leeren der selbsgesandten Wiedertöuffern vier gespräch Bücher ([Zürich]1531).  A fitting work setting the tone for his tenure in Zurich.  A tenure characterized by the solidification and expansion of the Reformation commenced by Zwingli.  Give it a read today on this ‘Bullinger’s Election to Zurich Day.’


Is it Bugs Bunny, or Janet Mefferd?

via the Truthinator on FB

via the Truthinator on FB

Begone, Absurdly Sentimental Pseudo-St. Nick

Nicholas doesn’t ‘believe in you’.  He believes in Jesus.


December 9, 1531 Was an Important Date in Reformation History

On that date, Heinrich Bullinger was elected to be Zwingli’s replacement as the Antistes of the Grossmunster.  And he was the ideal replacement.

bullinger54After the disaster at Cappel, [Bullinger left Bremgarten and] removed to Zuerich, and was unanimously elected by the Council and the citizens preacher of the Great Minster, Dec. 9, 1531. It was rumored that Zwingli himself, in the presentiment of his death, had designated him as his successor. No better man could have been selected. It was of vital importance for the Swiss churches that the place of the Reformer should be filled by a man of the same spirit, but of greater moderation and self-restraint.

Bullinger now assumed the task of saving, purifying, and consolidating the life-work of Zwingli; and faithfully and successfully did he carry out this task. When he ascended the pulpit of the Great Minster in Dec. 23, 1531, many hearers thought that Zwingli had risen from the grave.  He took a firm stand for the Reformation, which was in danger of being abandoned by timid men in the Council. He kept free from interference with politics, which had proved ruinous to Zwingli. He established a more independent, though friendly relation between Church and State. He confined himself to his proper vocation as preacher and teacher.

In the first years he preached six or seven times a week; after 1542 only twice, on Sundays and Fridays. He followed the plan of Zwingli in explaining whole books of the Scriptures from the pulpit. His sermons were simple, clear, and practical, and served as models for young preachers.

He was a most devoted pastor, dispensing counsel and comfort in every direction, and exposing even his life during the pestilence which several times visited Zuerich. His house was open from morning till night to all who desired his help. He freely dispensed food, clothing, and money from his scanty income and contributions of friends, to widows and orphans, to strangers and exiles, not excluding persons of other creeds. He secured a decent pension for the widow of Zwingli, and educated two of his children with his own. He entertained persecuted brethren for weeks and months in his own house, or procured them places and means of travel.

He paid great attention to education, as superintendent of the schools in Zuerich. He filled the professorships in the Carolinum with able theologians, as Pellican, Bibliander, Peter Martyr. He secured a well-educated ministry. He prepared, in connection with Leo Judae, a book of church order, which was adopted by the Synod, Oct. 22, 1532, issued by authority of the burgomaster, the Small and the Great Council, and continued in force for nearly three hundred years. It provides the necessary rules for the examination, election, and duties of ministers (Predicanten) and deans (Decani), for semi-annual meetings of synods with clerical and lay representatives, and the power of discipline. The charges were divided into eight districts or chapters.*

And much, much more.  And it all began on the 9th of December, 1531.

* P. Schaff, History of the Christian Church.

First Bible of the Church: A Plea for the Septuagint, reviewed

Nicely done.

Words on the Word

First Bible of the ChurchFor the New Testament authors, the original text, that is, the text they drew on, was primarily the Septuagint. To make up the first part of the Bible which has the New Testament as the other part, the Old Testament in the shape it has in the Septuagint would therefore seem the obvious choice.

First Bible of the Church: A Plea for the Septuagint, by Mogens Müller (p. 144)

Mogens Müller provocatively asks, “What caused the displacement of the Septuagint? …Today it is an open question whether the Septuagint should be reinstalled as the Old Testament of the Church” (p. 7). First Bible of the Church is part reception history, part biblical theology, and part apologetic work that suggests the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible should be brought (back) into canonical status. It should be “at least part of a canon” (p. 122), if not the better choice…

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